I shall start by quoting from Jessica T. Mathew’s brilliant analysis What Trump Is Throwing Out of the Window in the 9 February issue of The New York Review of Books:
The global financial crash of 2008 at America’s hands, the rise of ISIS, the transformation of Russia under President Vladimir Putin into a dangerous and committed adversary marked by its 2014 annexation of Crimea and invasion of eastern Ukraine, nuclear weapons programs in North Korea and Iran, cyber interventions in the US election, and a steadily more nationalistic and militarily provocative China—all of these have dramatically raised the stakes of these conflicts over policy. The crux is no longer in deciding how far America should reach in deploying its power and forcing its values on others, but in what it must do to meet a cascade of challenges to its core interests and national security.
Into this particularly dangerous moment comes Donald Trump…
The World View
With Trump’s Inauguration Address his messages are no longer just for campaigning simplicity.
It is the official and revolutionary U.S. new world order view that was presented in the Inauguration Address. A view totally in conflict with the traditional Republican line and the stated intent of the approved key Cabinet members.
Trump’s analysis has remained the same over more than three decades. The problems of the American economy were not created by the too low productivity to support the salary level, weak investment in technical innovation and sloppy management of the old American industries. They were the results of malicious acts of formal enemies such as China and the dependent, but in this sense illoyal Allies such as Germany and its economic empire, the so-called European Union. This view of hostile conspiracies laying siege on his country is another view that Trump share with Putin.
Let me quote again from Jessica Mathew:
Trump’s foreign policy often seems invented in the moment—a mixture of impulse and ignorance amid a morass of contradictions. But in fact its essence, … has been remarkably consistent for decades. In 1987, either toying with the possibility of a presidential run or building publicity for the forthcoming publication of “The Art of the Deal” (or both), Trump paid to publish an open letter to the American people in The New York Times and two other major papers with the headline “There’s Nothing Wrong with America’s Foreign Defense Policy That a Little Backbone Can’t Cure.”
Other nations, he wrote, “have been taking advantage of the United States.” They convince us to pay for their defense while “brilliantly” managing weak currencies against the dollar. “Our world protection is worth hundreds of billions of dollars to these countries”; yet weak American politicians respond “in typical fashion” to “these unjustified complaints.” “End our
huge deficits,” he concludes, “reduce our taxes, and let America’s economy grow unencumbered by the cost of defending those who can easily afford to pay us for the defense of their freedom. Let’s not let our great country be laughed at anymore.” …
In a 1990 interview he returned to the same theme: “We Americans are laughed at around the world for losing a hundred and fifty billion dollars year after year, for defending wealthy nations for nothing…. Our ‘allies’ are making billions screwing us.” The same is true for Europe: “Pulling back from Europe would save this country millions of dollars annually … These are clearly funds that can be put to better use.”
The only recent addition to the simplistic world view is the addition of the Muslims to enemies, something likely to endear the President to fellow romantic populist interpreters of the “Will of the People” in Europe.
Trump’s consistent views and latest hate focus led both to the new U.S. leader’s address with its declaration of a general trade war to redress the perceived injustice against the suffering American people, and to the reorganisation of the alliance system of the country to match that double conflict system.
Those nervous allies still in denial such as Denmark that think that it will only take a visible increase of the defence budget to consolidate U.S. commitment to their security will have a rude awakening. They make the mistake thinking and repeating that the new U.S. have maintained a “soft” geo-strategic interest as leader of the Free World. This is no longer the case. In addition to that they have to contribute directly to Trump’s projects of Making America Great Again and crusading against the Muslims.
Ending NATO and informally replacing it with bi-lateral Trump White House-dictated contracts
Making America Great Again is mainly an economic issue and will eventually include giving privileged access to your country to uncompetitive imports from America (something similar to trading in the 1930s and later Western trade with the Soviet Union). Of course this assumes the dissolution of the EU. However, it will logically initially mean direct and visible participation in the coming huge investment in improving the run-down American infrastructure, either by state funds or by states “encouraging” of national private pension funds to participate. It will also mean graciously accepting that you loose planned American, international or own national companies’ investment projects that you need for the development of your own society.
This result was confirmed on 4 March 2017 when I received the following email from a Washington friend: On Friday, I had a conversation with a parliamentarian from a relatively small NATO country. He and others visited the Trump transition team in December. They were told that if they wanted their country to have a good relationship with the new Administration, they needed to be able to say how many jobs they could create in the United States. He is still in a condition of disbelief.
The second will be a full, unreserved and visible participation in Trump’s announced war against the radical Islamists even if it will assume and be seen as a Crusade against Muslims. It will not only mean symbolic participation in coming the offensive military operations in spite of their likely scant attention to collateral damage. It will also have implications for how you are expected to deal with Muslim refugees and the already parted integrated Muslim population of your country. Trump’s expectations are likely to worsen the already difficult domestic situation in several of the European Allies of the U.S.
Back to Jessica Mathew:
The views Trump published in 1987, when he was forty-one, have not changed with time: mercantilist economic views; complete disdain for the value of allies and alliances; the conviction that the world economy is rigged against us and that American leadership is too dumb or too weak to fix it; admiration for authoritarian leaders and the view that the United
States is being “spit on,” “kicked around,” or “laughed at” by the rest of the world. … Trump’s core views don’t align with any of the current approaches to foreign policy … Their close relatives are to be found in Charles Lindbergh and the America Firsters’ admiration for dictators, the mercantilist and isolationist policies of Robert Taft, also
in the 1940s, and the similar views of Patrick Buchanan twenty years later.
The coming Trump-Putin Reykjavik Summit
It will be in Reykjavik for two very good reasons.
For Vladimir Putin it will be a return to the place where Mikhail Gorbatjov officially started his treason against the Soviet Union in October 1986. It will clearly mark that now the period of weakness and over and have not only been replaced by equality with the U.S., but will a warm partnership with a like-minded leader.
For Donald Trump it will add enormously to his legitimacy in the Republican Party and the American population generally by formally making his the direct successor of the only other non-Establishment president in modern time, the now hugely popular Ronald Reagan.
To make that link even more clear, Putin will probably accept a visible mutual reduction in nuclear arms. To get that, Trump may even agree to come to the conclusion of the Kazakhstan Peace Conference to add visibility to the Russian victory in Syria. It will be a truly Trump Deal.
Back to Jessica Mathew a final time:
In the quietest of times Trump’s policies would be alarming enough. But this is, nearly all agree, a particularly dangerous time of rapid and fundamental change in the military, economic, and political dominance to which the United States is accustomed, exacerbated by Islamist terrorism and technological transformation.